Why I quit every MMO I ever Played
Since I frequently mention all the MMOs I played, I thought it might be interesting to compile a list of what went wrong with each of them. Each one of these had some good qualities (with one exception – more on that later), but something went so inherently wrong that my friend(s)/wife and I decided to step away. These appear in chronological order of playing.
Dungeons and Dragons Online
I really enjoyed DDO. I’m steeped in D&D culture, having played since 2nd edition (about 10 -15 years), so it was a natural choice when WoW failed me the first time (guild stuff). My buddy, a self-proclaimed penny-pincher (he uses a stereotypical cultural reference, of which he is one I might add, but I’ll refrain), bought four copies for us for a dollar each from some bargain bin, so we figured if he was willing to spend money, we should give it a shot.
The problem was the first raid. We’d played WoW, where you get as many chances as you wish to fit in as long as you clear the trash and don’t run out of time before the weekly reset (this was back when they had those). In DDO, the first raid forced you to clear five dungeons before you raided each lockout. One of the dungeons, Vault of Night 2, was stupidly designed; it was a floating island, and if a single person was blown off, the entire party immediately failed. There were gust traps everywhere, and people on bad connections had a really hard time getting the dungeon done. Our group in-joke since then has been to refer to really hard encounters as “VoN 2 Heroic: no floor.”
After you battered your way through the dungeons, the fifth of which was also exceptionally long and hard, you got to the raid boss, an awesome red dragon. You got one attempt at it. One. If you wiped, you waited until the lockout period was up and did all five pre-dungeons again. We stopped less than a week after we learned that.
Age of Conan
My buddy and I played Age of Conan and LotRO at the same time to decide which we really wanted to invest in. AoC was more compelling game play, being an actual action game that wasn’t like WoW, but it was also very twitchy and button-mashy.
We only played Age of Conan for the trial period, but we learned within that time that the game had some serious flaws. All of the amazing stuff that’s shown off on the first island disappears when you move to the second island. I don’t do “bait and switch.”
Lord of the Rings Online
I loved (and probably still love) LotrO. We played in the time after the Moria patch until the next patch (I don’t remember what it was) got released. We enjoyed the leveling, thought the graphics were beautiful, liked some of the creative character classes (I’ve never seen a mechanic like a Runekeeper), and enjoyed immersing ourselves in the Tolkien lore.
We pushed our way through Moria, which incidentally was too dark, and finally emerged on the far side with little time before the release of the next expansion. We had a solid group of three, but could never get into dungeons because people felt that runekeepers (which I was) couldn’t heal properly. Since dungeons required six, getting three dps in was unlikely, so often we couldn’t find groups. We tried the three-man dungeons, which were an ingenious addition, but found them impossible; apparently the progression was to do 6 man dungeons, gear up, then do 12 man raids, gear up, THEN do three man dungeons. Whoever decided that should have been immediately fired; it’s completely illogical to progress like that.
Additionally, the “talents” in LotRO require that you earn them. I think that’s an awesome idea, and I wish more games functioned that way. However, the high-end versions of the talents became a little ludicrous; to get three more of a stat, which was no great increase, you’d have to kill an additional 900 or so monsters. Still, some groups expected people to have all their virtues (talents) maxed out. It seemed nonsensical.
We stuck around for the expansion, but it felt like more of the same. Our relationship to the game had been damaged by the three man dungeons and worn thin by the grinding of the virtues, and when the xpac failed to wow us, we left.
Fallen Earth is to this day my favorite MMO. I found it to be the most creative and engaging of the worlds, the most interesting and diverse of the story lines, and the most fun to actually play, where you had 1st person shooter aspects so smoothly melded with and MMORPG. I spent countless hours farming, leveling, and crafting – and oh what a crafting system. A huge percentage of the items in the game could be crafted, which was a great incentive to go looking for things.
Unfortunately, it tuckered me out. The land was so large, there were so many quests, and there was no end game content to be working towards that I lost direction (as I do with games like Oblivion) and eventually just lost interest. It was a lot of fun, but it got old too quickly. On top of that, my wife refuses to play first person shooters, so it was impossible for me to play with her, which meant I was splitting my time between WoW and Fallen Earth. Eventually FE lost.
Star Trek Online
STO I played alone; it was my private indulgence. My wife was still playing WoW and my buddy wasn’t interested in trying a space MMO (until Star Wars, apparently), so I didn’t have much of a choice. I was very excited about its release and still think it was a much better game than it got credit for being. Since I (foolishly) bought a life-time subscription, I still keep it up-to-date and play a few missions every now and again.
In the end, though, it couldn’t compete with socialization. As my buddy got re-interested in WoW and we all agreed to level together (remember that catastrophe?), there was simply no time. It may not be fair to say I “quit” STO, but I certainly reduced my playing to nearly nothing. It’s a fun game, but the space missions are too slow and the land-missions don’t make up enough of the game.
Rift was another really great game that simply lost out to WoW, though this time it was more due to my buddy than me. He rushed through it on an “alt” (though if it’s played more than your “main” I’d argue what’s what), got to the end, and declared it was like Fallen Earth: not enough to do. Since he’d seen the whole game, he hurried me through missions, frequently boiling them down to their lowest common denominator, ruining the exploratory and discovery aspect as it became simply about getting XP as fast as possible.
His rushing and spoiling irritated me, and his report on the end game demoralized me. I’ve wanted to go back and always kick myself when I find out there was a free weekend (usually on Sunday right before I go to bed) that I didn’t play. In the end, though, it, too lost out to WoW as we finished leveling our toons and didn’t see a reason to continue leveling in Rift.
This game has an asterisk for why I quit, because I never really started. I signed up for an account, but never got a confirmation email. I went and tried to get a confirmation email, but it said I was not signed up, so I went to sign up again and was told that my email was already in use. The hell with that. Developers, if you want people to play your game, make sure they can sign up, first.
Allods was fun for about 13 levels. You didn’t have to buy anything, there were always XP specials going on, and the quests were all city-based, so they were mostly close by and accessible. Then, like AOC, things went downhill. Every quest made you kill 50 mobs, and every level required more and more quests. The only way to make it manageable was to purchase scrolls that doubled your xp gain, but that required real money (ah, the catch!). My buddy and I weren’t all that attached, so off we went.
Vindictus was a lot of fun; it had better production quality than some games that cost money, and it was free to play. However, it was incredibly repetitive. In the end, you needed to do every board 3 or 4 times, and every board was a small difference from the previous boards, so in the end it was more like a Diablo game than an MMO. It got boring quickly and was replaced.
I’m still playing Glitch and really enjoying it, but I see an end coming, far off. What happens when I’ve gotten every skill and, thus, every quest? What then? I’ll let you know when I get there, dear reader – maybe there’s a surprise in store.
At any rate, here lies a list for developers about what turns players off: repetition, not enough end-game content, bait-and-switch design, difficulty getting started, lack of socialization, too slow fights, expansions that don’t seem to have any new stuff in them, illogical progression, and content that’s too unforgiving. WoW’s guilty of a lot of these, but I still play it. I wonder why it continues to win out?
Stubborn (self-proclaimed MMO whore)